Friday, July 13, 2007

The Socialization of Chickens

We are in the middle of an experiment. Can a chicken raised in cages with other chickens ever reach the same level of tameness as a chicken raised by humans? It remains to be seen.

Things are improving. At least, they are improving in the chicken house. Muffin seems to have established her dominance to the point that she no longer needs to peck at the other chicken anymore. They are cohabitating peacefully, if not yet blissfully.

The "other chicken", as we have been calling her, has come out of the corner of the house and now walks around in the chicken yard. She still does not seem comfortable in her surroundings, but she at least is moving around a little. She won't voluntarily let me pick her up. We have cornered her a couple of times and forced her to sit in my lap and cuddle. She sort of tolerates it. She will eat from my hand, but only when I'm holding her. She won't come to me.

Someone watching from the outside would probably be very amused. These two chickens are so obviously different. Muffin walks around like she owns the place. She runs around the yard, sits in my lap, follows us around, and generally has a very confident air about her. The other chicken either huddles in the corner of the cage or walks around it very slowly looking around. She jumps if a bird chirps too loudly. We have a long way to go.

No comments: